Lamar Jackson wasn’t a dominant force in 2021, but several factors played a role in his down year. While other young quarterbacks have emerged, including Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert, don’t forget about the Baltimore Ravens superstar.
NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah has long been a big believer in Jackson. He suggests that he’s getting word that the former MVP could be prime for a monster 2022 season. Jackson’s contract negotiations with the Ravens front office are pretty much nonexistent. However, Jeremiah thinks it would be foolish to bet against No. 8.
Daniel Jeremiah predicts a huge year for Lamar Jackson
Lamar Jackson has been an unstoppable force since entering the NFL. As a result, people overreacted to his down year in 2021.
The Baltimore Ravens signal-caller threw for 2,882 yards, 16 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions while completing 64.4% of his passes. He rushed for 767 yards and two scores. However, Jackson missed five games and didn’t have his full complement of weapons.
NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah expects the 2022 season to be an entirely different story for Jackson and company. He revealed why during a recent appearance on The Rich Eisen Show.
“I talked to somebody today that said Lamar Jackson has been working his butt off over the offseason,” Jeremiah said. “He is dialed in. He’s been working, and he’s been throwing every day. He’s been getting with different people to work out. What I was told is this is a very focused Lamar Jackson. And I think you’re going to see a huge year from him.”
After finishing with an 8-9 record and missing the playoffs, the 2018 first-rounder should be hungry for a major bounce-back campaign in 2022.
The Ravens offense should be much-improved in 2022
An unbelievable string of injuries depleted the Ravens roster and derailed their 2021 season. This was a team with Super Bowl aspirations. Now, John Harbaugh’s squad must work to reclaim its hold on the AFC North and remind the rest of the league what it’s about.
Baltimore lost several key starters on offense. All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley and running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards all suffered season-ending injuries. Rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman missed the first five games of the season with a groin injury.
Lamar Jackson struggled at times to navigate the missing pieces and moving parts. Too often, the Ravens quarterback ended up having to play hero ball. That must change in 2022, and Daniel Jeremiah believes it will.
Baltimore should be getting Dobbins and Edwards back, which is massive. The Ravens finished with the NFL’s top rushing offense in back-to-back seasons (2019 and 2020). They still ranked third in 2021 (145.8 rushing yards per game). Those numbers were with aging veterans Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray in the backfield.
Having the backfield at full strength should also open up the passing game. Bateman, Mark Andrews, Hollywood Brown, and Devin Duvernay form a solid receiving corps. The front office signed Morgan Moses and will likely continue to bolster the offensive line in the NFL draft.
Now, it’s time for Jackson (and offensive coordinator Greg Roman) to take the next step.
Jackson appears to be betting on himself by slow-moving contract talks
Lamar Jackson is entering the final year of his rookie contract. Many franchise quarterbacks sign a long-term extension by this time, but not the Louisville product. He doesn’t have an agent and is currently handling his own negotiations with the Ravens.
General manager Eric DeCosta suggests the team is content waiting on Jackson. However, the two-time Pro Bowler doesn’t appear to be in any rush. It’s difficult to imagine a deal not getting done, but talks are barely moving at this time.
Deshaun Watson’s deal with the Cleveland Browns reset the quarterback market again, which could be fantastic news for Jackson if and when the two sides reach an agreement. Daniel Jeremiah doesn’t doubt the Ravens are willing to pay him whatever he wants. The NFL Network expects the dynamic playmaker to earn every bit of it in 2022.
“If he wants to bet on himself,” Jeremiah said. “From what I’m hearing, I’ll join in on that one.”
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference